Growing business literature reveals concerns about the quality and level of preparedness of business graduates entering the labor market. This study focused on the competencies, skills, and traits business students perceived as important for being a successful employee. Two hundred and sixty nine student participants from four business disciplines at a regional state university in Eastern Kentucky were randomly recruited to complete a 60-item survey. Participants rated the importance of traits and qualities as well as academic knowledge/subjects. The results indicated that participants categorized various traits and qualities of successful business professionals, suggested by experts and scholars (Beggs, 2012; Kavanagh, & Drennan, 2008; Kesner, 2008; Hall et al, 1995) into eight constructs. Students rated personal principles such as work ethic, teamwork, and learning/coach-ability highly, but they failed to recognize the importance of having internship experience and developing strong writing skills. Students also tended to highlight the importance of the academic subjects “business ethics” and “marketing & entrepreneurship.” This finding seemed to be synchronized with findings of past studies (Wardrope, 2002). In conclusion, this study addresses ways to utilize these findings to revise business curriculum and improve the skills and knowledge of students.
Review of Contemporary Business Research, December 2017, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 1-9.